Diets That Work

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Addicted to Tan


Are you a tanaholic or a tanorexic Too many people believe the bronzy glow of a sun-kissed face represents relaxation, fitness, and attractiveness, but some research suggests it may also be a sign of a dangerous addiction. 

Steven Feldman, a professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, became interested in the idea of tanning addiction after having difficulty convincing some of his patients to stay out of the sun. In a 2004 study, he and his colleagues showed that ultraviolet light (UVL) results in greater relaxation and lower tension in tanners.

In a follow-up study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, some of the same Wake Forest researchers observed that tanners might experience withdrawal symptoms typical of addiction.

The researchers exposed eight frequent tanners and eight infrequent tanners to two tanning beds. One bed emitted UV light, but the other bed did not. Some tanners were also given naltroxene — a drug which blocks feel-good chemicals, called endorphins, which are made by the body. As the tanners took higher doses of naltroxene, half of the frequent tanners experienced withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea and jitteriness.

This withdrawal may have occurred because the frequent tanners couldn’t feel the positive effects of the endorphins that they had grown dependent on, according to the authors. In contrast, the infrequent tanners who took the drug never experienced withdrawal symptoms.

Summer Skin Care

2007 research has examined the concept of tanning addiction from a psychological standpoint. In a new study, 385 students at the University of Washington at Seattle were surveyed in an effort to find out if tanning rose to the level of an addictive behavior.

Four of the survey questions, designed to determine if exposure to UV light was an addiction, were modified from a screening tool for alcohol abuse, known as the "cut down, annoyed, guilty, eye-opener" (CAGE) questionnaire. Those who reported "yes" to two or more questions were considered to have a positive screening. The questions were:

    * Have you ever felt you ought to cut down on tanning?
    * Have people annoyed you by criticizing your tanning?
    * Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your tanning?
    * Have you ever thought about tanning first thing in the morning?

Seventy-six percent of the female study participants and 59% of the males reported tanning their skin on purpose. Forty-two percent of the females and 17% of the males reported tanning indoors at tanning salons.

Women tanners were more likely than men to score positively in their CAGE response, suggesting UV light addiction. Of the respondents who acknowledged purposely tanning, 22% of the women and 8% of the men had positive CAGE results.
'Education Isn't Enough'


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Disclaimer: Information on this web site was gathered from many sources in public domain such as published books, articles, studies and web sites. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss your health conditions and treatments with your personal physician.


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